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#1 Law

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 06:11 PM

Out of Print is now on TMU, huzzah!

Out of Print is a comedy/drama that follows Scott Weston, a respected journalist, who is fired from the Lionhead Newspaper for sleeping on the job, and tries to figure out what to do next.

http://movies.tmunde...ch/out-of-print

Thank you to everyone who supported the project and contributed voice overs!


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#2 TehPoptartKid

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 01:45 AM

Great job, dude! Wonderful film.


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#3 Law

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 02:38 AM

Thanks for all the feedback in the comments so far guys, nice to know what I can improve upon next time. My night has been made by the warm reception so far and I look forward to reading more reviews :)

#4 thebiz

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 04:46 AM

Hey Law, great stuff.  Really reminded me of TMO classics of yesteryear.  

 

My critiques are about brevity and about using the 180 rule.  Around the 5 minute mark where you got two guys speaking to each other and they are facing the same direction.  Its a thing.  I wonder if it would be a thing to me if I hadnt read the 5 C's of Cinematography.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Anywho's about brevity..this seemed 20 minutes when it coulda been 12.  Cut cut cut like a mohel at a bris. Make it tight like a..tight script that makes for tight viewing.  Tight.  So overall, fun and enjoyable.  I look forward to your future works!


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#5 Law

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 05:03 AM

Thanks Biz, glad you liked it! And thank you for the advice, I'll have to read the Five C's of Cinematography you mentioned. I guess there were some parts I could have cut short, I realize it is a bit long which I didn't intend on. I'll keep what you and everyone else has said in mind when working on future projects!

#6 skarsten

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 08:30 PM

I'm a dirty rotten coward.  I have yet to see this, in spite of enjoying the trailer.  I promise to get to it this weekend!

 

ObScreenwriting, my two favorite books on the subject thus far are "Your Screenplay Sucks! 100 Ways to Make It Better" and "Save the Cat!".  I highly recommend them if that sort of thing is relevant to your interests.


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#7 Law

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 02:17 AM

It's okay Skarsten lol looking forward to hearing what you think! :)

And thank you, I always appreciate recommendations on things that could be of benefit to expanding my filmmaking knowledge. I could surely use some sprucing up in the screenwriting department, among others, I'll seek these books out.



#8 skarsten

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Posted 01 March 2017 - 09:23 PM

OK, so I watched it on Monday.  I have a few critiques.  Other people have already covered the swapping heads in the dialogue scenes, so I won't mention it again... but I did notice.

 

First one, and I guess this is primarily a style choice, but I felt like your camera was too active.  Nearly every shot was some kind of pan, zoom, or track.  It got distracting after a while.

 

Second, tech glitch maybe?  A telephone magically appears on the protagonist's desk out of nowhere in one of the early scenes.

 

Third - and this is one I'm really picky about - some of your actors sounded like they were delivering their lines from the bottom of a grain silo.  This is really common in machinima and I have no idea why it happens as often as it does, but it takes me completely out of the movie.  I would honestly recommend auditioning people and screening out anyone who can't deliver clean audio, no matter how good their reading is.  And that goes for everyone, really - as an aside I turned off "Galaxy at War" within the first thirty seconds because of how the first line of dialogue sounded.  I'm that particular about it.

 

Fourth, I think the script really needed another pass.  It was billed as a dramedy but I didn't really get any humor out of it.  The dad was supposed to be "wacky" but it just fell flat, and by the time we got to the knife fight I wasn't really sure how I was supposed to feel... and then it ends on a clever, but totally out of place gag that doesn't match the tone of the rest of the film (and the pedantic nerd in me needs to point out that you-know-who doesn't work you-know where).

 

Which brings me to my final comment - I don't feel like there was enough of a script here to justify a 21:00 runtime.  Very, very little actually happens - everything from the actual firing (which takes up the bulk of the first part of the film) to the climax in the bar (I assume?) simply doesn't affect the story at all, IMHO.  By the end of the movie I still wasn't even sure what it was actually about.

 

So, now that I feel really guilty, I should end on a positive note.  I know you can write comedy, because I liked your Plotagon shorts a lot.  Correctable technical issues aside, you're also a good cinematographer.  In spite of what I said about the floaty camera, I think in general your shot choice was quite good and you assembled a logical story progression in terms of what went where.  I also liked the style of the opening credits, the initial voiceover, and the original trailer.

 

Keep going, because I know you have some great potential.  A stronger script and some sanding on the rough edges and you'll be gold.


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#9 Law

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 12:40 AM

I was hoping for more positives, as anyone would, but you make very good points that I will take into account.

Camera Movement:
I thought I had a good mix of still and moving shots, but perhaps not, for you at least. Mostly I was trying out the free cam, seeing what I could do with it. Maybe I went a little overboard with it, I didn't think it'd be distracting though.

Disappearing Phone:

Yeah, that was a technical thing for sure, happens in The Movies sometimes (at least it does in mine) not sure why it does that, I didn't notice it until I finished everything already and was ready to edit, it may have even only done so in the export, I don't know.

Voices:

The voice inconsistencies were my fault partially, I could've worked on them as Mac suggested so that they didn't sound too out of place with each other. Really the only one that sounded that bad to me was my own, not only because I don't like my acting very much (as many people tend to not), but because I only have a laptop webcam to work with. Nobody else sounded as though they were in a silo, so I assume you're referring to my parts.

The Script:
I could've rewritten the script, looking back, but at the time I thought it was good and you never really know until you put it to the test, especially when this is the first script I've ever written and put to film, everything else I've done was off the dome. You think the dad character fell flat? I personally thought it came out funny, but to each his own opinion. And I know it's Clark Kent who works at the Daily Planet, but Bruce Wayne owns it. I know that doesn't necessarily mean he works there as the CEO or whatever, but that's why I put Batman there.

Runtime:
Yes, 21 minute was a bit long as Thebiz already said, there was a bit could have (and should have) cut out, but as I said before, you don't always know until you put out for people to see. Though this was perhaps should have been more obvious than the script needing work. I thought a bit more happened in it than you claim, but certainly not enough for 21 minutes, you're right about that.

Final Thought:
No need to feel guilty about expressing your opinions, even if they mostly negatives. You're honest, and that helps people grow! I'm glad you liked my plotagon shorts (have you seen the ones I've done in moviestorm, I'd like to know what you think of those) I'm better at writing comedic shorts I find, rather than a long project, many ideas I have for future works focus more on short subjects for that reason. I'm glad you liked the cinematography, I just get all of that looking as good as I could, which may have lead to too much movement that you referred to. Glad you liked the opening credits and the voice over, I really like that opening narration as well.
 

I hope I can impress a little more with my future projects, I'll take everything you said into account when working on them.

Thanks again for the honest criticism,
Law



#10 skarsten

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 01:33 AM

I'd say the camera work is six of one, half-dozen of the other.  I'd probably put it down to personal style... so many people went crazy with the freecam back in the day that I got really sensitive to it.  I only mentioned the phone because it might have been a continuity error - sometimes people stitch scenes together in a certain way and forget things.  I almost had a disappearing meal in my first Jack Macy short, so it happens to the best of us. :)

 

Did you play the boss?  He's the one who had the most noticeable voice distortion, but I'd have to go back and check to be sure.  And I know you can deliver decent audio, because I wouldn't have used your lines in DOWNFALL if I felt they were that bad.  Don't stress over it too much, though - like I said, I'm picky about sound to the point of being obnoxious.  I think everyone could stand a little improvement in this regard, which is funny when you have people dropping 2 and a half big ones on iClone and then recording their audio with a paper clip and a piece of wax paper.

 

If there's one takeaway you should focus on, I'd definitely say it's the script.  Thebiz was on the right track, but... even if you tossed the entire middle of it I still wouldn't really be understanding how the protagonist gets from point A (the firing) to point B (the fight), and wrapping it up at point C (the deus ex machina - his joblessness is resolved entirely by external forces, making his "hero's journey" entirely moot).  It's like they're completely unrelated.

 

That said... if that's your first attempt at a script you could have done a lot worse.  Even though I didn't like the jokes, the dialogue was mostly natural and realistic and for the most part felt to me like real people talking.  That's not easy to do.  At all.  Humanizing the knife guy by making him jealous of the protagonist was a nice touch, also.  I honestly didn't see that coming and it worked for me.

 

Not that I think my own work is anything amazing, but there are two things you should note about DOWNFALL.  First, is that the scenes where Beta company were ambushed and Alpha Company fought their way to the main complex were initially longer.  I cut those scenes out of the script because too much combat that early on would have fatigued the viewer by the time the big fight at the end rolls around.  So, don't be afraid to take a step back and evaluate your pacing.  "Out of Print" starts off strong and upbeat and then kinda flounders along in the middle, then picks up again at the end.  DOWNFALL follows a very straightforward beat chart, where each story element flows into the next:

 

Hook: "Help us!  Distress call!" (Development)

Cliffhanger: "We've jumped into an ambush!  O noes!"

Development: "It's Dark Star, and they know their shit.  Who is Dark Star, the viewer wonders?  The protagonists are taking them seriously, so they must be badass."

Cliffhanger: "O noes again!  Beta team has been ambushed, and Terry is alone!"

Development: "Terry can make it back to his friends, but he'll have to go it alone!  This is tense!"

Cliffhanger: "Dark Star has caught up to Alpha team at the main complex!  Now what?"

Development: "Oh, so this is what happened to the colonists.  Let's make a plan.  Will it work?"

Cliffhanger/Climax: "Oh shit!  Dark Star is all up in our business!  Escaaaaaape!"

Resolution/Sequel hook: "The colonists are safe, and Terry saved the day.  Wait, what's that over the horizon?"

 

Granted, an action film and a dramedy are fairly different, but the fact that you need to keep the plot moving is equally important for both films.  And initially, you do; your plot points flow together well until your protagonist gets home.

 

I'd say the biggest issue, though, is the ending.  It's a deus ex machina.  The protagonist undergoes no real growth or even does anything to better his situation until the very end... but I actually liked that part.  I like how he throws away what he wanted (his old job) for a new opportunity once he realizes his boss is a dick.  Tres Scott Pilgrim, earning the power of self respect.  The fact that he moves on to a new position ends on an upbeat note.

 

Actually... thinking about it some more... ok, so he goes home and wallows a bit.  Totally understandable, and he does realize he's wasting his time at home.  So that part, I think actually works better than I initially gave it credit for.  I guess this is a limitation of the runtime, as what I would have liked to see next is some way for him to put forth effort to better his position himself before the thing with his boss.  That may just be me, though.

 

I guess if I had to do the editing, I would have shortened the initial firing sequence and maybe added something about him not being able to find any better work, so that he really wanted his old job back, which would have made his turning down his boss more meaningful.  But I guess at that point we're looking at more of a TV episode or even a feature film. lol

 

Anyway, you'll notice that Terry's initial introduction doesn't paint him in a very flattering light.  His entire squad is massacred the second boots hit the dirt and he screws up an important security procedure.  And this is Randam's second in command?  Then he redeems himself at the end by showing us that he's a capable combatant, at least, by destroying the ambush squad and escaping.  And now we're curious as to what's going to happen next; how is Randam going to handle this horrible FUBAR?  Drawing a parallel, I wasn't entirely sure why we were supposed to like the protagonist, given that his firing was fairly justified.  This is why you need him to "save the cat" (which is the point of the book I recommended).  And if you're paying attention, you may be asking when exactly Terry saved the cat.  And the answer is, "he hasn't - yet."  But I have the luxury of waiting until the next episode, on that one.

 

tl;dr - don't take my saying that I didn't like the script too seriously.  It had a lot of strong points, even if it wasn't perfect.

 

I haven't seen your MS shorts.  I'd like to, because not enough people use it anymore, and it's very underrated.  Link?


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#11 Law

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 02:37 AM

I definitely understand how it can be a stylistic choice, I like a good still shot but I like to move things around a lot, but I can see how that might not be a preference for others. I wasn't involved in machinima back in the days of TMO (or even TMU before 2016) so I didn't know that, I've seen quite a bit of the old movies that have been made over the years, but there's lots more I haven't seen yet. The continuity for the beginning phone conversation was pretty bad originally, as well as the shots leading up to it, the chair behind the desk was different in some shots as well as the telephone Scott was using. But when I started reshooting things, I made sure not let things like that slip by me, but I'm sure somewhere I've messed up a little thing that nobody would really even notice anyway.

I did play the boss, as well as the mailman and bruce wayne at the end. I did a bit of editing on the lines that I sent you, which as I said I didn't do for a majority of the lines in Out of Print, which was unwise. I understand, I can be very picky about lots of things, I know how that goes.

In my head they were all the events were connected, but I guess in retrospect, they wouldn't appear as much so to the viewer.

I'm glad the dialogue came off natural to you, even if you didn't like some of it's content. After it was all said in done, I felt as though Phillip's sudden angry jealousy/psychotic rage might come off a little out of nowhere, I'm glad to know that part in particular actually worked for you and took you by surprise.

I will definitely take the time to re-evaluate the script and final footage of my future projects to try to see what can be cut out to make things flow better, or at least entertainingly. Downfall was well paced indeed, really looking forward to more of that.

Looking back, there wasn't much in the way of growth for Scott's character, I wasn't really intending on there to be, but there still could've been more.

Yeah exactly, it's a big, sudden fall from the top of his game to the bottom of the barrel when he gets fired. If I were him, I'd go home and wallow as well. That wa my thought process, for that part at least, "what would I do?" I agree, it would have been better to have him try to get his career back on track before the boss's final phone call, in hindsight. If I had cut out the things that I should have, I think having him look for more work and fail would have been a good plot point and it probably would be doable without overloading the runtime. But, what's done is done.

I don't know either why you should like the protagonist of Out of Print, Scott, I mean he refers to himself as a shitty person right from the get go and pretty much spends the whole movie complaining and getting angry. I wasn't trying to make him likable, but I guess the movie would have benefited if I did. Again, what's done is done.

I don't take it too seriously, in a negative sense at least, I appreciate the critiques and the compliments you had to give as well.

I made three while I had the demo, as well as some tests for more serious works using MS, here are the links to those shorts.

Rawrie the Dinosaur's Funhouse
http://movies.tmunde...saur-s-funhouse

Which sort of references and inspired this next short, Apocalypse Chow, a bit
http://movies.tmunde...apocalypse-chow

This one is unrelated to the other two, but it was made not long afterwards, a couple days I think. Kythar's Run-In with the Law
http://movies.tmunde...in-with-the-law

I agree that MS is underrated, I see why some people may not like the look of it, but I find it very intuitive and has the potential to make some great stuff if you really put in effort, which has been proven by quite a few movies on TMU. I wish to get MovieStorm at some point, I feel like I really got the feel for it in that 14 day trial, and had more fun using it than any other program I've tried thus far. I enjoyed making those skits I linked above, all of which were made up as they went along. If I can get MS, I plan on making a skit series like that with multiple skits rolled into a full 10 minute+ episode, instead of one off shorts like the ones I linked. (though I'll still do those as well, perhaps)

I probably would've gone into a little more detail responding to this, but I've been sick the last couple days and it's not doing much better today. Thinking too hard for a response makes it worse, gotta take it easy lol



#12 skarsten

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 03:06 AM

I don't know either why you should like the protagonist of Out of Print, Scott, I mean he refers to himself as a shitty person right from the get go and pretty much spends the whole movie complaining and getting angry.

 

There's a lot to unpack, there.  I personally would argue that if you don't like, or at least can't identify with, the protagonist of whatever you're watching, then there's really no point in watching it at all.  This is the gist of "save the cat".  On the other hand, I've watched a few really good movies where the protagonists were absolutely horrible people and performed absolutely zero acts of feline rescue.  I guess that's the kind of thing critics will argue until the End of Days.

 

Oh, I actually did see Apocalypse Chow.  I liked that one a lot.  I'll follow up on the others next chance I get.

 

It's definitely a different skill set, writing comedic shorts versus full-length projects.  A perfect example of guys who are great at one and terrible at the other are the writers for Aqua Teen Hunger Force.  If you ask me, the first ten to fifteen minutes of the ATHF feature film are absolutely hilarious... which, coincidentally is about the length of your typical episode on TV.  The rest of the movie was very much "oh shit, we have to fill how much more time?!"

 

Edit: Yes, what's done is done.  God knows I made a bunch of mistakes in DOWNFALL.  I'll correct them going forward, which is all you can do.


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#13 Law

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Posted 02 March 2017 - 03:22 AM

You're right about that, there are some arguments that will last until the universe finally crumples.

Cool, glad you liked Apocalypse Chow, hope you enjoy the others too.

It sure is, and when you go from not writing anything down for a short to writing a script for a full length, it's a very different experience. I remember the Aqua Teen movie, that was indeed a disappointment. I remember being excited to see that movie, and felt the same way about the beginning being great, but after that first 15 minutes, nope. It was a disaster. To say it went downhill would be an understatement. Then they started changing the name of the show every week and it just got out of hand lol



#14 kkffoo

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 04:08 PM

Enjoyed watching this. The script had a few slow spots, but also some very funny lines and the plot was well finished off, great job!


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PC still running after clearest yeah! Now noodling with Plotagon.

#15 Law

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Posted 03 March 2017 - 04:54 PM

Thanks kkffoo! Been awhile since I've heard from you. Glad you liked Out of Print! :)


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#16 Law

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Posted 27 May 2018 - 07:15 AM

It's alive! The bodacious beast of mine known as "Out of Print" has been, well, out of print since I was hacked and left the forums. But now it's back up on TMU! To anyone who loved, liked, felt indifferent toward or flat out hated the movie when it came out and want to give it another shot, now's your chance!

http://movies.tmunde...ch/out-of-print

Despite it's shortcomings and the many frustrations from trying to piece this thing together, it's my most ambitious effort to date, and was a hell of a lot fun to do! I'm very happy to have it back on the site. I felt it was only right to post it directly to the site, rather than embed from YouTube, which I will do at another point... anytime I try to upload anything my internet slows to a crawl.. ever since I got satellite internet with at&t.. cable internet worked much better...

Thank you to Joe Harp, not only for giving a great performance as the main character, but also for saving this bad boy for me, wouldn't be seeing it again otherwise.

Thank you to Macwemyss and TPK for doing an equally great job with the supporting roles! Aaand as for myself, I tried my best  :P Even though the writing wasn't the best I probably could've done, how the cast brought it to life anyway is my favorite thing about the whole film!

And of course big thanks to everyone who showed interested in the project as it was in production, from teaser to release, and left nice compliments and honest critiques. Wish I still had those comments under the original video, but I remember all the excellent pointers and suggestions I was given and will keep them in mind for all future projects!

Out of Print 2 coming soon!er or later, likely never

(just kidding, but ya know, maybe one day when I completely run out of ideas)

If you want to know what's next, I'm working on a music video with Moviestorm.

And I made a new twitter account earlier, I might as well share that too, go follow me to see me never use it! https://twitter.com/..._in_Law?lang=en


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